PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Micaela Long (South Boston, Mass.) recorded her third career multiple-point game with a goal and an assist to lead the fourth-ranked University of New Hampshire women’s ice hockey team to Saturday afternoon’s 3-1 Hockey East victory against Providence College at Schneider Arena.
UNH -- winners of four straight in this series, which is the longest by either team since the Wildcats won five straight spanning the 1997-98 seasons – improved to 18-3-3 overall and 10-1-0 in Hockey East. Providence, which had won two straight to jump into a tie with the ‘Cats in the league standings, is now 11-11-3, 8-2-2.
With a 19-save effort, UNH goaltender Melissa Bourdon (Ile Bizard, Quebec) recorded her 77th career victory to break the previous benchmark of 76 established by Alicia Roberts.
UNH dominated the first period in generating a 12-5 shot advantage and a 2-0 lead. Jennifer Hitchcock (LaSalle, Ontario) netted the first goal of the game on a backhander deep in the left circle at 5:09. Long won possession along the left boards at mid-ice and chipped the puck forward to Hitchcock, who fended off a PC defender to advance towards the net and score.
Leah Craig (Seaforth, Ontario) extended the lead to 2-0 with a 5x3 power-play goal at 17:28. The initial shot from the left point by Martine Garland (Toronto, Ontario) was stopped by PC goaltender Jana Bugden (24 saves), but Craig collected the rebound in the left circle and skated to the slot to create an open shooting lane for a backhander into the open net.
PC, which didn’t record a shot in the opening 11:30 of the game, pulled within 2-1 when Katy Beach scored a power-play goal at 11:09 of the middle stanza. Bourdon made the initial save on Jenna Keilch but Beach swept the puck past the UNH goalie before she could cover it with her glove.
UNH reestablished a two-goal lead, 3-1 at 15:05 on Long’s tally. Kelly Paton (Woodstock, Ontario) initiated the scoring sequence as her pass from the high slot eluded a pair of PC defensemen and was collected by Steph Holmes (Rye, N.Y.) behind the net. Holmes circled out towards the left circle and threw the puck across to Long, who deposited the puck into the open right side of the net.
With the score still 3-1, the Friars called time out at 11:06 of the third period at the outset of a 15-second 5x3 skater advantage. PC spent most of the ensuing two minutes regrouping in the defensive end, however, and did not record a shot.
PC pulled Bugden in favor of an extra skater with 1:19 remaining but could not sustain pressure in the offensive zone, as UNH was effective at quickly gaining possession of the puck in the defensive zone and clearing it into the neutral zone.
In a game with 21 penalties, UNH was 1-for-8 on the power play and PC was 1-for-9, including 0-for-3 in the last 10 minutes of the game.
New Hampshire and Providence conclude the weekend home-and-home series Sunday at the Whittemore Center. Game time is 2 p.m.